The weirdest part of DC's solicitations for the products they plan to release in July of this year, as seen here at Comic Book Resources, comes at the very end, where there is a long list of "Advanced" solicits for their books shipping in September, each of which will have a 3D cover (like last year's Villains Month issues, I guess), and will tie-in to their Future's End weekly series. Each of those books will be a one-shot, with a title like Aquaman: Future's End #1.
I counted 41 titles, 40 of which are regular monthlies, one of which is Booster Gold: Future's End #1. What's weird about these pre-solicitations, other than their very existence, which likely has something to do with the way comics shop owners order comics, and with some of the difficulties reported with the ordering of the Villains Month specials, is that there are no creators attached, just plot synopses.
That's a little worrying, as it sounds like DC is just handing out index cards with a few sentences of plot to whichever work-for-hire creative teams end up working on Batman/Superman: Future's End #1 and Constantine: Future's End #1 and so on. Now, it might always be that at DC, with editors handing out index cards with plot points to random, interchangeable creative teams, but, even if it is, let's at least maintain the illusion that it's not, and that individual writers and artists are bringing their own imaginations, inspirations and talents to each comic, and giving it their all month in and month out, okay?
Additionally, no images are provided yet, so with no creators and no pictures to look at, it was very weird just reading through those Future's End solicitations (I actually got bored doing so, and quit after 20 or so). Reading through them reminded me quite a bit of the solicitations for the Flashpoint tie-ins though: Familiar character names scrambled around in random, often unexpected ways, but with the mutually agreed upon understanding that these were just temporary, possible future, Elseworlds/Imaginary Story style comics that would have no real bearing on our favorite characters and books, and were therefor skippable (Unless you really like the creators involved on the project, of course).
But that's September; in two more months, I'm sure we'll get creative teams and cover images. For now, let's look at what DC has in store for July.
AQUAMAN ANNUAL #2
Written by JEFF PARKER
Art and cover by YVEL GUICHET and JASON GORDER
On sale JULY 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
During his battle with Hercules, Aquaman unleashed an ancient evil from the days of the Greeks -- so he’s called in Wonder Woman to help him clean up the mess! You can be sure the Queen of the Amazons and the King of Atlantis have plenty to talk about…if they can hear each other over the bloodcurdling screams of the Giant-Born!
AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS #4
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art by LAN MEDINA and ALLEN MARTINEZ
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale JULY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Who is the mysterious armored figure that wants Aquaman’s trident and the Others’ Atlantean relics? And more important, why?
Counting the July issue of Aquaman, which is of course where that cover image of Mera in her shredded costume is taken from, there will be three Aquaman comics, for a total of $11, released in a single month. I'm a fan of the character, yet I find that to be an alarming amount of Aquaman.
BATMAN ‘66 #13
Written by GABRIEL SORIA
Art by DEAN HASPIEL
Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
On sale JULY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
A new hit TV show based on Batman’s crime fighting exploits is on the air, but it hardly meets with the Caped Crusader’s approval. And the show’s producer has more in mind than just high ratings! A set visit from Batman and Robin reveals the producer’s true agenda and puts all of the action behind the cameras in this story by guest writer Gabriel Soria.
They had me at "Dean Haspiel."
Written by TOM TAYLOR
Art by NICOLA SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by ANDY KUBERT
On sale JULY 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
In this extra-sized issue, Val-Zod finally accepts his role as the new Superman of Earth 2 as he faces the twisted, brutal original Superman, who once protected the planet but now prepares it for Apokolips and the forces of Darkseid.
Huh. So the black Superman of Earth-2, who first appeared on a teaser image for an upcoming Earth 2 weekly series, is an actual Kryptonian? I suspected that it might be Michael Holt, Mr. Terrific, in a new costume with a new codename, given the fact that Holt was the only black hero on Earth 2 so far, and that he was embracing Power Girl, who Holt was apparently lovers with for at least a little bit.
I like the costume.
It's strange how far this book has drifted from it's original remit of Golden Age characters reinvented for the modern age in their own, distinct setting. That solicitation is all Superman and Fourth World, no JSA or Golden Age.
Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MIKEL JANIN
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON
On sale JULY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Dick Grayson. Former sidekick. Former Super Hero. Former dead man. And now...agent of Spyral?! A thrilling new chapter of Dick Grayson’s life begins in this new, ongoing series. It’s a super-spy thriller that will shock you and prove one thing: You might think you know Nightwing – but you don’t know Dick.
Kudos to whoever wrote "you don't know Dick."
I think this book really works in The New 52-iverse the way it would in the old DCU. I mean, by "former sidekick," they mean "was Robin for maybe a year or so." I can't even really guess how this all works out after the events of Forever Evil, in which Dick Grayson was outted as Nightwing (And given the fact that Bruce Wayne publicly announced himself as the man funding Batman and Batman, Inc., well, couple that with Wayne's former ward being Batman's ally Nightwing and, well, how hard is it to figure out who Batman really is? I guess his death will be faked in the conclusion to Forever Evil, forcing him into this super-spy business but, man, I can't really see who this is meant to appeal to. As I said last week, the New 52 reboot basically reduced Dick Grayson to the familiar codename of "Nightwing" and not much else; here he's losing that too.
I'm not sure what's up with Dick Grayson holding a gun on these cover either; that's not a very Dick Grayson thing to do, and while New 52 Dick may be different than original Dick, surely New 52 Batman is still as anti-gun as pre-New 52 Batman is.
I'm not sure I really care what happens with all this anyway, though. I've read some Seeley comics before, but he's not a writer I'd go out of my way to read. I don't really care for Janin's style, although he's good at that. So character, premise, creative team—nothing about this really grabs me, aside from mild curiosity.
Written by AMANDA CONNER and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by AMANDA CONNER and others
Wraparound cover by AMANDA CONNER
One-shot • On sale JULY 16 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The title says it all! Our favorite little troublemaker, Harley Quinn, takes on Comic-Con International: San Diego in this over the top issue! She’ll have to battle long lines, crazy crowds and the dread con crud, all in the quest to get her own comic book published!
Harley Quinn is now officially to DC Comics what Lobo was 20 years ago:
SPACE #1 next year, I'll be all over that.
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by CARL POTTS, SZYMON KUDRANSKI and others
Cover by GENE HA
On sale JULY 16 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
In the tradition of INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US, a new videogame sensation makes its comics debut. Developed by Turbine and WBIE Games, INFINITE CRISIS brings together unique versions of DC Universe heroes from across the multiverse to head off a crisis that threatens to destroy all of their worlds! Heroes and villains from Gaslight, Atomic, Arcane, Mecha and other worlds battle and join forces with Prime Earth Batman in this rapidly escalating conflict!
They lost me at "Kudranski"
NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #1
Written by SEAN RYAN
Art and cover by JEREMY ROBERTS
On sale JULY 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
The world has changed for Task Force X, a.k.a. the Suicide Squad. Director Amanda Waller no longer has the autonomy she once had. New members disrupt the team dynamic. And the team takes on an international scope. New members Joker’s Daughter, Deathstroke and Black Manta join Harley Quinn and Deadshot for a mission in the most dangerous and unpredictable place in the world: Vladimir Putin’s Russia!
I've said many times before that Marvel steals DC's good ideas, while DC steals marvel bad ones. Here's a good example: Canceling a title to replace it immediately with a new #1. The only justification I see here is a new creative team (maybe?) and a new-ish direction, but then, I've lost count of how many new creative teams Suicide Squad has had already, and this is the first time that they've gotten a new #1 and the word "New" in the title. Imagine if DC had been doing that all along, relaunching books every time their creative teams changed. Superman and Green Arrow would probably never make it into double digits!
ROBIN RISES: OMEGA #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by ANDY KUBERT and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by ANDY KUBERT
One-shot • On sale JULY 16 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The hunt for Robin is over, and the battle joined! But Batman’s family feud with Ra’s al Ghul is about to erupt into something bigger when it’s interrupted by the forces of Apokolips! This epic story continues in this month’s BATMAN AND ROBIN #33!
I'm intrigued. At this point, it seems like the easiest fix for giving Batman a Robin would be to resurrect the dead Damian Wayne. I would have thought bringing Tim Drake back as Robin, which I assume was Grant Morrison's original plan when he originally conceived of the Damian Wayne plotline (which wasn't meant to last as long as it did), but after the New 52 reboot, DC implied that Tim Drake and Batman weren't ever really that close, Drake was never actually Robin (going by "Red Robin" all along), and, like all the others, he couldn't have been Robin more than a year, so it would actually be kind of super-weird if Tim Drake were the one, true Robin again (Even if he's my Robin).
Additionally, Tomasi's spent sooo much time on this hunt for Robin business, and they've yet to cancel or rename the Batman and Robin title, that it seems appropriate to have Damian returnty to life (He already has a pretty science-fiction-y origin story, and if they can restore Jason Todd to life, really anything should go at this point).
I think the fact that it was revealed in the last issue of TEC that Bruce Wayne is covering up the death of his own son sort of points to the fact that Damian Wayne is really only temporarily dead, because otherwise that's a really strange thing to have Batman do.
I'm a little concerned and confused by this mention of Apokolips, as DC seems to have no real unified plan for the Fourth World in their new universe, various characters appearing in various books by different creators (Darkseid in Justice League and Batman/Superman; Steppenwolf, Mister Miracle and Barda in Earth 2; Orion, Highfather and New Genesis in Wonder Woman, and then there's the upcoming Infinity Man and the Forever People).
SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #5
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
On sale JULY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
Wonder Woman’s homeland is under attack by mythological monsters that vanish into thin air before the Amazon warriors can fight back! Scooby, Wonder Woman and the gang must work together to solve this mystery…assuming Daphne and Velma complete their Amazon training in time!
If there is a more exciting sentence in the history of comic book solicitations than the second one above, I defy you to find it.
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by SCOTT HAMPTON
Cover by HOWARD PORTER
On sale JULY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Meet the soldier they call “G.I. ZOMBIE,” a man who is neither dead nor alive, who fights for his country again…and again…and again!
Great idea, DC! If there's one thing the modern marketplace has really embraced, it's comics written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. And if there are two things its embraced, the second one is definitely military comics set in the New 52 DCU. Should we just moved this to the "cancelled" category alongside Blackhawks, Men of War, and G.I. Combat now, or pretend that it won't be canceled in eight issues, just to be polite?
Written by AMANDA CONNER, JIMMY PALMIOTTI, JEFF LEMIRE and PETER J. TOMASI
Art by STEPHANE ROUX, DENYS COWAN, BILL SIENKIEWICZ and IAN BERTRAM
Cover by LEE BERMEJO
On sale JULY 23 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The latest explosive origins from DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 include Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Stephane Roux; Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire, Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz, and Damian, Son of Batman, by Peter J. Tomasi and Ian Bertram!
Weird. They're still focusing on popular characters. We've seen Harley Quinn's new, New 52 origin at least twice now, told slightly differently each time (in Suicide Squad and a Villains Month special), Green Arrow's we've seen "live," as we have Damian's (and Damian's was also re-told in Batman and Robin #0).
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
Backup story art by DUSTIN NGUYEN
RESOLICIT • On sale JULY 30 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
It’s all going to hell as cosmic-level war breaks out! The full truth of who — or what — Wraith is finally comes to light!
No joke: I actually forgot this title even existed.
Written by WILL PFEIFER
Art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
On sale JULY 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Raven, Bunker and Beast Boy step out of the shadows of the adult heroes of the DC Universe to offer bold, exciting and sometime dangerous ideas on how to protect a world full of superpowered teenagers – any one of whom could be the next heroic figure or major villain!
Well, this new volume of the title seems to have a better creative team, but it still has rather lame line-up (I don't think a fourth-generation team of teen superheroes even works in a one-generation DCU, personally). I'm really surprised that DC didn't let the title lay fallow longer, and that the only substantial changes beyond that of the creative team seems to be ditching Superboy, Kid Flash and the two new female characters, while adding Beast Boy, (and making him green again instead of New 52 red).
I don't know if anyone's pointed this out before (he said, jokeing), but Wonder Girl's babe-i-fication has gotten completely silly at this point (and that is a dumb costume, unless that's some kinda sci-fi, superhero unstable molecule material that offers the sort of support man-made materials here on Earth-Prime aren't capable of yet; it's particularly odd given how much of the New 52 redesign has been about creating more realistic costumes, with seams, ribbing, grip, plates and armor).
Remember when John Byrne first introduced us to Cassie Sandsmark?